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Why do we fast? — G.
By the time this column is published, we will be out of the Nativity fast and be in the feast. Thus, we will continue by speaking more about fasting and segue into feasting.
Last time, we wrote about fasting as “self-emptying.” This week we will speak about fasting as remedy of the Fall and preparation for being filled with the Lord.
We live in an age of materialism and instant gratification.
Thus, anything that is uncomfortable is typically seen as a negative, which misses the point.
Fr. Alexander Schmemann points out that fasting reorders disordered passions and desires.
In the Fall, Adam and Eve are convinced by the Great Liar that life is dependent upon “bread alone.” All of human history has played out based on this lie.
We blatantly reject that lie when we fast and live ascetically within the church, Christ’s literal body. Schmemann said, “If one is hungry and then discovers that he can truly be independent of that hunger, not be destroyed by it but just on the contrary, can transform it into a source of spiritual power and victory, then nothing remains of the great lie in which we have been living since Adam.” Wow!
We fast before feasts because the great spiritual power we acquire allows us to purify and prepare for the presence of Christ himself in the feast.
We become lighter (literally) allowing us to focus our prayers. We find ourselves humbled and able to hear the word of the Lord. Finally, we reject the ancient lie. Christ fasted and suffered to teach us and give us the grace to do it with him because it is salvific.
Truly, we deprive ourselves when we do not imitate and follow Christ. Christ is Born!
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